I write in response to Louis Oreamuno’s letter to the editor published June 19, 2014, captioned “Jax Hts., USA?”
Mr. Oreamuno laments a lack of “patriotism” because there are no military/veterans parades in Jackson Heights, but the community is “inundated by racial parades as well as this aberration of gay pride (in what?).” While I think it is important that we support and thank veterans, including Mr. Oreamuno, for their service, I am dismayed that he chose to express his dissatisfaction in a manner that castigates the immigrant and the LGTBQ populations (not to mention that he confuses race with national origin).
Patriotism means many things to many people. For me patriotism includes pride in a society that constantly strives towards greater inclusion and diversity. As a nation of immigrants we celebrate diversity, whether based on national origin, religious belief or sexual orientation. New York City is exceptional and successful in part because we welcome people of all cultures, beliefs, and orientations, harness their incredible talents and drive, and celebrate their inclusion within the larger community. Jackson Heights is a one of the most diverse communities in New York City, not to mention the nation, and is a fantastic example of this success.
We should do more to honor and support veterans. However, the fact that communities celebrate their culture and history with parades in no way takes away from the accomplishments of our men and women in uniform. To the contrary, we support veterans because they risked their lives to protect one of our most fundamental and sacred beliefs — that all people are welcome here, deserve respect and should be proud of their heritage.